In honor of National Infertility Awareness Week 2017 (April 23-29), I wanted to bring you the stories of 12 talented and courageous Etsy shop owners. These women have walked through the depths of infertility and miscarriage, and I admire their determination in fighting for their families.
It’s my honor to give you a glimpse into their lives, and I strongly encourage you to support their family-building missions by shopping today!
Jackie’s story: “I was diagnosed with Premature Ovarian Failure shortly after being married in 2014. We were told that our best option to conceive was via an egg donor. Shortly after this news, we suffered chemical pregnancies in back to back months. This threw us off and made us question what direction to take. We prayed and found peace in following the opinions of several Reproductive Endocrinologists. We moved forward on the journey of using an egg donor. We were blessed by the selflessness of a sorority sister as she underwent testing, shots, an egg retrieval, and all of the emotions that accompany such a magnanimous act. We have done three transfers to date, and the first two ended in a chemical pregnancy or early miscarriage. We are now in the waiting game of our third transfer and very hopeful that this is our time.”
Support and shop: Funds from Jackie’s shop have gone to their egg donor journey and are currently covering medical expenses. Check out and support Jackie Blue Handmade today! She says the best place to check out her jewelry and tell her what you’d like to order is through Instagram.
Jessica’s story: Jessica and her husband Michael have been trying to conceive for five years. She was diagnosed with stage IV endometriosis, which resulted in three surgeries. She chose to pursue NaPro treatment and adoption as opposed to fertility treatments like IUI and IVF. She says, “I have always found comfort in Psalm 30:5: ‘Tears may flow at night, but joy comes in the morning.’ Embarking on the journey of adoption marks the end of our long night and the beginning of dawn. We are now awaiting that promised joy with hearts full of gratitude, for we know somewhere there is a child chosen for us, and we cannot wait to meet them and love them forever!”
Support and shop: Earnings from Jessica’s Etsy store go toward their adoption fund. Learn more about their journey on her blog, Singing Through the Storms, and make sure to stop by and shop Heartsong Creative!
Heather launched her shop in 2016, offering a wide variety of fabric décor garlands. In regards to what inspired Heather, she said, “I love fabric but am terrible at sewing. Garlands give me the opportunity to work with amazing fabrics without ripping seams.”
Heather’s story: “We spent just over five years trying to conceive. I had two surgeries, one of which left me with no fallopian tubes, thus beginning our journey with IVF. We did one cycle in 2015 that left us with one frozen embryo. But sadly, after driving the nine hours to our clinic, our sweet embryo didn’t survive the thaw on our much-anticipated transfer day. We drove home heartbroken. It took me over a year to be ready to try IVF again. In September of 2016, we had our second cycle and amazingly got three frozen embryos! Praise the Lord! On November 16th, we transferred two of our three embryos in hopes of getting one baby. A few days later we found out that we were expecting twins! We can hardly believe we finally get our turn at being parents.”
Support and shop: Funds from Heather’s store go toward continuing to fund their journey. Head over to Mustard Seed Designs and check out the fantastic items she has for sale!
Bekah Brown sells beautiful necklaces through her Etsy store, Shop Milieu, and also sells typographic art at Typographic Heart.
Bekah’s story: “We have been struggling with infertility for seven years and have never received a positive pregnancy test. We have done multiple rounds of fertility drugs, one IVF round — none successful. We don’t know why. There has never been a diagnosis of why we are unable to get pregnant. Though we had already talked about adoption long before we had ever started trying to have kids, it soon became clear that this was the story God was creating through us. Following the pain of not being able to create biological children, we started the process to adopt and adopted our daughter Eden nine months following. She is the light of our life and we know she was made specifically for us by God. He was in every detail crafting her story and our intermingling. We still long for a growing life that shares our DNA and we don’t know if this will ever change within us. It’s hard to let go of the desire for biological children even though our adopted daughter has a hold of our heart so deeply that we don’t know if we could love any other child as much as we love her.”
Inspiration for the necklace: “A circle can mean something different to any given person. To me, it means ‘surrounded.’ Through infertility struggles, loss, adoption — we are always surrounded by a community that loves us. We are made stronger by belonging to a group of people committed to love us through this messy life we are living. I made and wear this necklace to remind myself that, in my loneliest moments, I am not alone. That feeling of loneliness is a lie to my soul. I don’t accept it,” Bekah says.
Support and shop: Learn more about Nate’s and Bekah’s adoption journey at Adopttogether.org/nateandbekah, and feel free to reach out to her. She says, “I’d love to be a resource for anyone that has questions. I don’t feel like I had any one to talk to about all of this during my struggles.” Help support their second adoption by ordering your necklace at Shop Milieu!
Paige’s story: “I feel like our infertility journey is pretty unique, mainly because it was very short. After delivering my daughter (who by the way, I got pregnant with very easily), I had a piece of retained placenta that caused me a lot pain and issues for weeks after delivery. Unfortunately, I was young and not good at advocating for myself to my doctor. Even though I knew something was wrong, and complained often, I was ignored and dismissed for three months. Finally they allowed me to come in for an ultrasound, and rushed me into surgery to remove it. It was supposed to be a routine D&C (and it was as far as we knew); but almost two years later, 10 months after trying for baby #2, we found out during laparoscopic surgery, that my tubes were completely blocked/destroyed during that D&C.”
She continues, “We were told that IVF would be our only option. But my husband and I both knew in our hearts that adoption was the route for us and very soon after began our process. We are still waiting for a match and very hopeful for what the Lord has for us. In the meantime we are trying to get as creative as we can to raise the nearly $30,000 in adoption fees.”
Support and shop: Funds from Paige’s store will go toward their upcoming domestic adoption. Shop Flax and Wool now to support their adoption, and check out flaxandwoolblog.com for more of their journey!
Bethanyanne Howard established The Knotted Nest in 2015. When a friend announced her adoption journey, Bethanyanne wanted to give her something special to celebrate, so she created her best-selling nest necklace. Her shop is also filled with gorgeous, intricately wire-wrapped jewelry, diffuser jewelry, and digital downloads.
Bethanyanne’s story: “My husband and I have a beautiful three-year-old daughter. Before we decided to add to our family, I was diagnosed with Graves Disease, an autoimmune disorder that causes hyperthyroidism. After attempting to reset my thyroid, we decided to have it removed and began thyroid replacement medication. Over the last year we’ve experienced five miscarriages, and we also had one when our daughter was eight months old.”
Bethanyanne and her husband are currently in the process to adopt domestically. “We cannot wait for our baby to get home,” she said.
Support and shop: Every sale in from The Knotted Nest helps The Howards and other adopting families. And each month, Bethanyanne chooses a different family to contribute funds for their adoptions. Shop The Knotted Nest today!
Aly opened She Waits Co in 2017, selling inspirational t-shirts. “I love creating anything that is lettered!” she said. “I chose to sell them because it gives me joy to sow the word of God into others.”
Aly’s story: Aly and her husband were trying to conceive for over two years when she had a miscarriage and chemical pregnancy. “We decided to go forward with treatment believing God was calling us to fight for our miracle and not take ‘no’ for an answer. We came to believe that God absolutely wanted us to have children. I had so much victory in getting in the habit of praying Scripture over my body. We received our miracle baby on our fourth and final IUI. We can’t wait to meet our baby in May!”
Because Aly has experienced infertility and loss, she has a heart devoted to bringing hope to others. 50% of She Waits Co’s profits go to a chosen couple to put toward their infertility treatment or adoption.
Support and shop: Visit She Waits Co to order your shirts (I have her “She’s Armed & Dangerous” shirt!), and check out SheWaits.co to read about Aly’s journey. (Note: Aly’s shop will be on a break while she gets ready for her miracle baby, but check back!)
Theresa Kicher opened her Etsy shop in 2014 and sells adorable crocheted animal patterns. After years of waiting for a baby, one day she took a trip to her library looking for a hobby. After finding a book on crocheted animal patterns, she fell in love and began giving them as gifts to her friends. The demand increased, followed by custom orders.
Theresa’s story: “My husband and I were ready for children and excited about parenthood from the beginning. But we were also busy enjoying life together and working on our house, and didn’t really worry about not getting pregnant until four years had gone by. We then spent a year going to weekly appointments, tracking everything, taking fertility medicine, and after all that time and still unexplained infertility, we both knew we were just done. Just a few weeks later we started looking into adoption agencies and after completing our home study as quickly as possible, became a waiting family in October 2015. After several months of waiting, we were matched! But the adoption fell through after the baby’s birth, and struggling to stay hopeful we got back on the waiting list.”
“It has been a year since then, and along the way we have heard “no” over 20 times. It has been a year full of hope, discouragement, frustration, silence, stress, excitement, despair, and hope again. I cannot say that waiting has gotten any easier, but what I have learned more than anything is that our lives are not our own. We are here for God, and His plans may be different than ours, but I am 100% confident that His plans are even better than our greatest hopes. Yes, we are still waiting … but I am so excited to see what God has in store and to meet our miracle baby when the time is right!”
Kenzi’s story: “My husband is in remission from a three-time battle with leukemia which led to his sterilization and no longer having the ability to have children naturally. We underwent three IUI’s & two rounds of IVF. Although we conceived three out of five of those treatments, I miscarried all three of our sweet babies. We decided to adopt in the fall of 2015, when we launched our Etsy site, and the coffee mugs we sold paid in full for our son’s adoption, who is now a year old! Every purchase goes to our family and to the goal we have of growing our family by two more feet!”
Amie’s story: “We have been trying to conceive for three and a half years. I lost both of my fallopian tubes in August and have severe endometriosis, meaning in-vitro is the only way that we can have biological children. I found out in the process I had an endometrioma on my right ovary and both tubes were blocked from hydrosalpinx. I need to have it all removed in order to start the IVF process.”
“I am super close to starting the IVF process and will continue to share my journey and help others that are going through it in whatever way I can,” Amie says.
Support and shop: Funds from Amie’s shop will help pay for their treatments, and a portion will be donated to other couples once they have completed treatment. Take a look at her adorable onesies and support their journey at Chief&Lily!
Ashley Vargas opened Courage Deer Heart in 2016, selling adorable baby items like burp cloths, bandana bibs, and baby blankets. “I never thought I would be able to buy these baby things, but once we decided to adopt I had a renewed hope and dreamed about making things for our own little one day,” she said.
Ashley’s story: “We started trying for our family in December of 2013. That same month I was in the hospital with a painful ovarian cyst, and after that, my cycles were so painful. We continued to try and nothing was happening. I went to the doctor and she confirmed my suspicions that I ovulated too late to allow an embryo to implant, so she gave us a prescription for Clomid. Long story short, the next year consisted of nine rounds of Clomid, three pregnancies, three miscarriages, and one D&C. We finally went and saw a specialist and they did all the testing in the books and no one could tell us anything. No reason for infertility, no reason for miscarriage. We were on a path to start IUI with injectables, we were going to take a break through the holidays and start in the new year of 2016. The time came and went and it just never felt right. We had always talked about adoption and said we would adopt after having biological children. In the break that we took, adoption popped up everywhere. We felt like God really put it on our hearts to adopt. We started the process in July of 2016, home study approved December, matched in January, and baby was born in March!”
Ashley says, “This journey of infertility/loss is so hopeless, but please do what you can to stay hopeful. Your baby is out there, whether biological or through adoption, and there will be a moment where you just stare at them and say it was all worth it.”
Support and shop: Funds from her store go toward their current adoption, and will also fund future adoptions. Browse Ashley’s many adorable items and support Courage Deer Heart today!
Ris Ratliff launched her shop in 2016 and sells custom cross stitch families and constellation baby name embroidery hoops. “Cross stitch and embroidery are my JAM!” she says. Ris turned to this hobby to cope with the stress of trying to conceive.
Ris’s story: “My husband and I have tried to get pregnant for more than five years now. Going into it, we knew it would be hard because of my endometriosis. What we didn’t know was that my husband also has male factor infertility or how bad my endometriosis is. Our doctor told us in 2015 that IVF is our only shot. We scrimped and saved and were finally able to do our first round of IVF in November 2016. It was tough but it worked — we were pregnant! It was devastating to find out shortly after that I was miscarrying. Losing our baby was harder than I could imagine was possible. I felt like I was sinking in a deep pit of quicksand and darkness. It’s taken months to even begin to pull myself out of it and I still really struggle. The thing that gives me hope now is that we have two perfect frozen embryos waiting for us. We are hoping to be able to do a frozen IVF cycle this summer.”
Ris continued, “With the incredible Lizzy Dabczynski-Bean’s permission (of stitchpeople.com), I have been creating stitch families to make my family a reality. I also make custom baby name constellations! My husband and I fell in love stargazing and I’ve always felt drawn to the night sky. While camping last summer, we were stargazing and I began to create our own constellation. This sparked my idea for my baby name constellation hoops! They are stitched with glow in the dark floss and each hoop is completely unique. I love that my love for the stars and babies has come together to make something so cute.”
What other Etsy shops do you know of that are raising money to build their families? Please share! I’d love to know!
Disclosure statement: This post contains affiliate links. Because I love Etsy, I became part of their affiliate program to help support my blogging. I may receive compensation for purchases you make off these links, but no worries, it’s no additional cost to you or the sellers. Read my full disclosure statement here.
Cover image used with permission by Victoria Bilsborough, Unsplash.com.